Season 1 Episode 1

Under the Night (1)

Aired Unknown Oct 02, 2000 on Syfy
out of 10
User Rating
136 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Under the Night (1)

It's the start of the war between the Systems Commonwealth and the Nietzschean fleets. Captain Dylan Hunt and his ship the Andromeda Ascendant try to flee the first Nietzschean attack to warn the Commonwealth. In his attempt to escape, the Andromeda and Captain Hunt are caught in the event horizon of a black hole and frozen in time for 300 years.


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  • Is "Under the Night" a great launch for Andromeda? No. But it gets the job donend in the end it gets its hooks in. It's entertaining, and I'm interested. Not bad for a pilot.moreless

    This sets the stage for the first half of the two-part premiere for Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda, the latest TV show based on Roddenberry notes, developed by Deep Space Nine alum Robert Hewitt Wolfe. My general impression for "Under the Night" is that it's good, not great, reveals that this series has potential, but that such potential must be exploited to find success. As it is only half a story, I find I don't yet have a mission statement to evaluate; we won't get that until part two. In the meantime, we get some decent action scenes and we're effectively introduced to an assortment of characters. The story serves as a good backdrop for establishing the series' initial elements, although the plot itself does not exactly provide great strides in originality.

    The episode opens with a big battle and some nifty special effects. I'm particularly impressed with the bold, artistic design of the Andromeda itself, which has a fresh look that , asets it apart from recent Star Trek starship incarnations. The battle and subsequent war arises from the discontent the Nietzschean society holds for the Commonwealth High Guard.

    Aside from the good special effects during the battle, the episode's opening setup scenes are probably its most uncertain. There's not enough about them that seems fresh, and the introduction of the Andromeda in its first fly-by lacks the awe it deserves -- especially given how cool this ship really looks. There are also some problems with a couple key characters in the early scenes. I for one found Hunt's pilot -- supposedly a sentient alien bug -- to be painfully unconvincing; this type of alien costume design has been dated for the better part of two decades, maybe more.

    The other, bigger problem here involves Hunt's traitorous first officer, a Nietzschean named Gaheris Rhade (Steve Bacic). Bacic's acting choices imply a cold dispassion apparently common for Nietzscheans, but the performance leaves much to be desired. There's a key scene of exposition set on the Andromeda bridge that doesn't work at all. It features lines of dialog sandwiched between firing weapons and finally a speech by Rhade that is so woodenly delivered that I was shaking my head in disappointment. (And sorry, but exposition in between flying bullets should be reserved solely for Riggs and Murtaugh in the Lethal Weapon pictures.) Nietzscheans may be cold, self-proclaimed superior people who are genetically engineered, but Rhade is simply an unconvincing muddle of random tones. The ensuing hand-to-hand fight scene works better, mostly because it's set eerily against the backdrop of time literally grinding to a halt. (The series' weapon of choice, used here and elsewhere, is known as a "force-lance," a retractable multi-purpose staff that can fire projectiles as well as perform the various duties of a Mag-Lite.)

    What we learn from Rhade's tirade is that the Nietzscheans have become fed up with the Commonwealth's constant compromises with alien aggressors; the last straw for the Nietzscheans was the Commonwealth's peaceful resolution with the Magog, an apparently nefarious race who "eat other sentient beings" and "reproduce by rape."

    Kevin Sorbo after the rain

    Three hundred years after Rhade is killed in this struggle and Hunt is frozen in time, enter the starship Eureka Maru, which is engaged in a salvage operation to pull the Andromeda Ascendant from the clutches of the black hole's gravity forces. It's here where Wolfe's sense for characters begins to take hold. The ship is captained by the competent and forceful Beka Valentine (Lisa Ryder), who has charge of a small crew-for-hire. They are all employed by scheming opportunist Gerentex (John Tench), a nasty guy from a race called theNightsiders.

    Valentine's crew is a fairly interesting set of personalities, of which the story gives us a nice little sampling. The resident techie/pilot is Seamus Harper, played by Gordon Michael Woolvett with a convincing and sarcastic madcap exuberance. Harper gets some decent one-liners (including the obligatory Hercules in-joke) and plenty of contemporary riffs on lines including "Let's kick some ass!", "We rule!", and "I am a god!" (It's reassuring to see Generation X is still alive and kicking several millennia from now.) I like the way typical dialog rules imposed by Trek have been relaxed.

    There's also Trance Gemini (Laura Bertram), the purple girl with a tail. We don't learn much about her, other than that she's a bit naive and ditzy; at one point she has to be reminded to put her space helmet on before opening an airlock.

    Perhaps the most interesting of the bunch so far is pithy Rev Bem (Brent Stait), a Magog with a social conscience. The fact that he's a Magog gives the character a useful dose of guilty baggage; he wants to make amends for the suffering his people -- himself included -- have inflicted on others. Like the other characters, we don't learn much about his past yet, but the door has been opened a crack and I think I can see something of substance behind it.

    Despite the brief character insights, the story moves along at a pretty fast clip: The goal is this crew's attempt to remove the Andromeda from the clutches of the black hole so Gerentex can sell it for a huge profit. Once the Andromeda is extricated, however, Hunt returns to normal time and realizes the severity of his situation.

    The crew of the Eureka Maru boards Andromeda, but Hunt is not planning to let them simply take his ship, not even after Harper explains to him that the Commonwealth lost the war against the Nietzscheans and has been gone for 300 years. The fact that the Commonwealth has fallen is obviously a major point this series will be playing. It was huge (it "spanned three galaxies" and had "over a million member planets"), so even if much of it dissolved one would think there are still traces or even large segments of it to be found. (The question of how the Nietzscheans alone could bring down an organization with a million planets is a bit puzzling to me, but we'll take it at face value for now.)

    For the moment, Captain Hunt's only ally is the ship herself. The story utilizes the concept of a ship with its own sentient intelligence. It's aware, and it has its own personality. It speaks to Hunt in the form of a holographic image (Lexa Doig), which even comes preprogrammed with an outfit featuring a low neckline. (The only remaining question: If Andromeda is sentient, does she have the choice of what to wear to work?) Hunt has a rapport with Andromeda that goes beyond the rapport any Star Trek captain would have with their ship. The ship here is an individual, which of course is a potentially compelling story point.

    Since Hunt does not intend to give up his ship quietly, Gerentex brings out the Big Dudes With Big Guns [TM] -- mercenaries he brought along just in case of such a confrontation. The head mercenary is a very big Nietzschean named Tyr Anasazi (Keith Hamilton Cobb), whose sole action in "Under the Night" is to walk in looking very menacing while holding a large firearm so we can be sent into cliffhanger mode -- nothing more, nothing less. For what it sets out to do, I suppose it's effective.

    Given the setup sans resolution, I don't have much to say about "Under the Night" in terms of riveting themes. Not until part two, anyway. This first episode of Andromeda is primarily a plot-based adventure with a good glimpse at some personalities. As far as production goes, it looks like a good deal was done with less money. There are of course rough edges, and Andromeda doesn't have quite the polish that larger-budget sci-fi shows like DS9 or Voyager had coming out of the gates. But the technique (some of the uneasy performances notwithstanding) is solid. I particularly liked the gritty, more claustrophobic production design on the Eureka Maru, and the pervasive use of hand-held cameras whenever we were there. All the characters here are closer to ground level than Trek characters, which is a nice change of pace. I especially appreciate that Valentine sees her crew members more as equals than as subordinates.

    Is "Under the Night" a great launch for Andromeda? No. But it gets the job donend in the end it gets its hooks in. It's entertaining, and I'm interested. Not bad for a pilot.moreless
  • The pilot of the show, much awaited from certain factors of the trekkie family, early news and reviews had been leaked and was promising.

    The episode starts off by getting straight into the action, albeit with an exercise to test the crews responses. We have a ship wide countdown and then we get introduced to the ships captain and first mate.

    Straight afterwards, they are casually discussing the impending marriage of Capt. Dillon Hunt with Rhade as the best man, but is interupted by a necessity to report to command for a real life situation.

    A billion inhabitants of a system is under threat from a rouge black hole, when they are set upon by 10 thousand Nietzshean ships, in order to save the inhabitants and themselves after the initial contact.

    They are losing the battle of survival, and the only option open to them is to steer into the black hole using a slingshot maneouvre before they get to the event horizon.

    Rhade who had recommended he be put under arrest as he is a Neitzshean, eludes his excorts and goes to fight / kill his captain and take over the ship.

    This results in the ship being frozen in the event horizon for 300 years, the introduction of the Maru and her crew, who are aiming to salvage the ship for parts and profit.moreless
  • Review

    The first episode of Andromeda is a great one as we are introduced to Dylan Hunt Captain of The Andromeda the first is about Beka and her salvage crew trying to take the ship and it is trapped in time on the out side of a black hole hunt trying to fight them off over all great first hour great action great affects of course the set of the ship is a great looking set and the outside of the ship looks neat as well the acting is a good for the show my over all rating is 8.9 endmoreless
  • Cpt.Dylan Hunt and the Andromeda Ascendant get stuck in time freeze from black hole during a Nietzschean ambush.300 years later salvage ship frees them,world Hunt once new is gone.He must rebuild the systems commonwealth,but first he must defend his ship.moreless

    Great pilot episode which introduces all the characters very well. Captain Dylan Hunt and his ships A.I Andromeda fall into a time freeze for 300 years. Until Cpt. Beka Valentines ship pulls them from the event horizon. Now Dylan Hunt is back in a world where the old galaxy government known as the Systems Commonwealth has fallen due to Nietzschean trechery and he must fight to rebuild it. The salvagers come aboard the ship and believe it to be desserted. When Andromeda "feels" someone messing with her circuits she alerts Dylan of intruders. Dylan presents himself to one of the crew and the man alerts Gerentex ( the creature that hired Beka Valentine and her crew to salvage the ship ), and he unleashes his secret weapon... a Nietzschean mercenary named Tyr Anasazi. Looks like Dylan has his work cut out for him.moreless
  • A great pilot episode

    It’s the start of the war between the Systems Commonwealth and the Nietzschean fleets. Captain Dylan Hunt and his ship the Andromeda Ascendant try to flee the first Nietzschean attack to warn the Commonwealth. In his attempt to escape, the Andromeda and Captain Hunt are caught in the event horizon of a black hole and frozen in time for 300 years.

    The crew of the Eureka Maru with Captain Beka Valentine try to salvage the Andromeda to sell for a Nightsider's ransom. After the Andromeda is pulled free, Hunt is unfrozen and forced to defend his ship against the salvagers and the Nietzschean mercenaries lead by Tyr Anasazi.moreless
John Tench

John Tench


Guest Star

Emy Aneke

Emy Aneke


Guest Star

Elizabeth Thai

Elizabeth Thai

Refractions of Dawn

Guest Star

Steve Bacic

Steve Bacic

Gaheris Rhade

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

    • Goof: During the fight between Dylan and Rhade, Dylan shoots Rhade in mid-air. Rhade can clearly be seen to be shot in the stomach. When Dylan rolls the body over to say a last few words to his former friend, the scorch marks show he was shot in the chest.

    • Dylan states the The Systems Commonwealth consisted of over a million member worlds, in three galaxies. The three galaxies were the Milky Way, Andromeda, and the Triangulum.

    • It was established later in the series that the Andromeda was frozen in time for approximately 303 years, from CY 9784 to CY 10087.

    • By the Earth calender, the years in which the series takes place are 5161-5164.

  • QUOTES (16)

    • Harper: (making an adjustment to the engines) Okay, if this works, in about ten seconds you're gonna have one big burst of power.
      Beka: And if it doesn't?
      Harper: Well then, I hope Rev Bem has some major pull upstairs.

    • Dylan: This is Captain Dylan Hunt, commander of the Systems Commonwealth Starship Andromeda Ascendant. I've been told the Commonwealth has fallen. Maybe that's true. But there's still one place where the Commonwealth endures, and that's on this ship. MY ship. I understand you intend to loot the Andromeda and sell what's left over. I promise you, that is not gonna happen. You have fifteen minutes to restore the Andromeda's control capabilities and withdraw to your own vessel, or I will retake my ship by force. Hunt out.

    • Rev: You'll be fine. Keep your eyes open. Use your head.
      Harper: Or whatever it is you think with.
      Rev: Trance - your helmet?
      Trance: Oh, right.

    • Harper: I AM A GOD! Whooo!

    • Rev: I'm going to build a hospital on Kingfisher.
      Harper: Kingfisher? Isn't that the world where you were, uh...
      Rev: ...BORN. Yes. My people did some terrible things on Kingfisher. If I can do anything to help to alleviate the suffering that they caused... that I caused... it will be well worth it. In a way, I'll be trying to buy absolution. Which makes me just as selfish as any of you.

    • Harper: Luck? Luck?!? This is a High Guard ship of the line. The pride of the old Commonwealth perfectly preserved. When they made up the phrase 'They don't make 'em like they used to', this ship is what they were talking about. It is THE big score. The Shangri-La. It's the Holy Grail of interstellar salvage.

    • Rhade: Give up. You can't win.
      Dylan: I told you before...
      Andromeda: Time dilation is increasing.
      Dylan: ...pessimism is not a survival trait!

    • Dylan: You know what your problem is, Rhade? You talk too much.

    • Andromeda: I wish you wouldn't do that. What if your anti-grav harness failed and I couldn't catch you in time.
      Dylan: Oh, Andromeda, you wouldn't let that happen, because then you'd have to break in a new captain.

    • Beka: That is my point. I want you to treat every boarding just like your first one. I want you to double-check everything. Hell, triple check it. I'd hate for any of you to end up like Vexpag.
      Trance: Vexpag?
      Rev: Your predecessor.
      Trance: Oh! He's the guy who retired. Didn't you say he bought a farm?
      Harper: THE farm. He bought 'The Farm'!
      Trance: Well, what's the difference?
      Beka: Torn pressure suit and a bad emergency seal.
      Trance: Oh, that is different.

    • Gerentex: Anything yet? Or are you people still poking around like blind men?
      Harper: You'll be the first to know.
      Gerentex: This is growing so tedious, Captain Valentine. I paid you for results.
      Beka: And you'll get them. But in case you haven't noticed, there's about ten trillion cubic meters of vortex out there, and only twenty million cubic meters of ship.
      Harper: Which just goes to prove how AMAZING I am.
      Gerentex: You found it?
      Harper: For my next trick, a needle in a haystack.

    • Dylan: This is the captain. All hands abandon ship. Repeat. All hands abandon ship. Use every available escape pod and drone. Get away from the Andromeda as fast as possible, then scatter. Make your way to Acomba One Starport and warn the High Guard what's happened here.
      Dawn: What about you?
      Dylan: I have an idea.
      Dawn: You always do. You're gonna need a good pilot.
      Dylan: I ordered you to abandon ship.
      Dawn: Let the record show that First Lieutenant Refractions of Dawn respectfully refuses to comply. If we live through this, you can court martial me.
      Dylan: You are one stubborn bug.
      Dawn: What's the human expression? Guilty as charged.

    • Rhade: Thompson. That battery compromised his entire sector.
      Dylan: He's a bright kid. He'll learn.
      Rhade: If he lives long enough.
      Dylan: Ever the cynic. You know, I can't wait to hear your toast at my wedding. 'To Dylan and Sarah. I'm sure you'll have a long and happy life together. Unless you die.'
      Rhade: Nietzscheans don't believe in optimism. It inhibits survival.
      Dylan: So does pessimism.
      Rhade: I'm glad you're getting married. You may not be properly engineered, but your genes are sound. You should reproduce.
      Dylan: Thanks, I hope Sarah agrees with you.
      Rhade: I'm sure she does. As the great philosopher wrote: 'Man is for woman a means. The end is always a child.'
      Dylan: I take it back. You're not a cynic, you're a romantic.

    • Dylan: Report.
      Rhade: Captain, all stations manned and ready.
      Andromeda: Elapsed time, three minutes twenty-seven seconds.
      Rhade: (Shouting to the crew next to Dylan's ear) Too slow!
      Dylan: (trying to clear his ears) Too loud!

    • (Rhade enters)
      Dawn: Commander?
      (Rhade fires his force lance, killing Dawn. He and Dylan exchange fire, and Dylan dives behind a console)
      Dylan: Rhade!
      Rhade: I tried to warn you.
      Dylan: What are you doing?
      Rhade: Ensuring the survival of my people. The Commonwealth is weak. It bargains with its enemies, it compromises. My people are engineered to be perfect! And the Commonwealth is no place for the strong.
      Dylan: So the Nietzscheans decided to destroy it.
      Rhade: We spent years preparing, waiting, arguing. For a long time, I opposed the destruction of the Systems Commonwealth. So did many others. The Treaty of Antares changed all that.
      Dylan: The Magog.
      Rhade: Yes! The Magog. Savages. Predators. They eat sentient beings. They reproduce by rape. They killed over a billion people on Brandenburg Tor. They destroyed the Nietzschean colony on Hawking. And what did the Commonwealth do?
      Dylan: We made peace with them!
      Rhade: You compromised with monsters! The blood of over a billion people cried out for vengeance, and you made peace. You have sown the wind. You shall reap the whirlwind.

    • If the Commonwealth's High Guard had a weakness, it was this: It's officers were too competent, too caring, and too brave.

      Yin Man-Wei, The Rise and Fall of the Systems Commonwealth, CY 11942.

  • NOTES (4)

    • Elizabeth Thai, the actress who plays Refractions of Dawn insisted on doing her own stunts during the fight scene on the command deck. The gel-pack that was used to simulate the Than blood was extremely hot, and burned her thighs when it was detonated.

    • International Airdates:

      -This episode aired in Canada on October 7, 2000 on Global.
      -This episode aired in the UK on October 9, 2000 on Sky One.
      -This episode aired in Australia on August 3, 2002 on Fox 8.

    • Kevin Sorbo (Dylan Hunt), Lisa Ryder (Beka Valentine), Lexa Doig (Rommie), Gordon Michael Michael Woolvett (Harper), Laura Bertram (Trance) and Steve Bacic (Gaheris) are the only actors to appear in both this episode and the finale, "The Heart of the Journey (2)."

    • The fight between Dylan and Rhade was voted #9 in the Top Ten Scenes at the official site.

  • ALLUSIONS (14)

    • When Harper is asked what would happen if his method for getting extra power will not work, he answers "then I hope Rev Bem has a major pull up there". Bem begins chanting a strange prayer: ''Yisgadal... ve'Yiskadash... Shmey Raba." These words are in Aramaic, and mean "May His name be celebrated and sanctified". It is the first verse of the Jewish Kaddish prayer, recited in an Ashkenazi accent.

    • Genesis II:

      In 1973, the TV-movie pilot Genesis II was created by Gene Roddenberry, though his plans for syndication were canceled in favor of the syndicated Planet of the Apes series. In Genesis II, people in a post-apocalyptic future discover the body of a man named Dylan Hunt in an excavated NASA building who has been in suspended animation for 150 years, and who tries to help mankind rebuild society.

    • Star Trek:

      In one scene, Harper talks on the intercom. Before he says anything, he whistles. The whistle is the same sound as the intercom on the Enterprise on the show Star Trek.

    • Harper: I'm telling ya. The guy is huge. He's like...some kind of Greek God or something.

      This is a reference to Kevin Sorbo's previous series

    • Rhade: You have sown the wind. You shall reap the whirlwind.

      Biblical quote from the book of Hosea: "For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind..." Hosea 8:7

    • Magog:

      In biblical tradition, Gog and Magog were major players in the Apocalypse, symbolic of the forces of chaos and evil.

    • Nietzschean:

      Named for the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, whose idea of Ubermenschen (the so-called "supermen") presumably inspired their creation.

    • Hawking:

      This is an homage to the famous British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking. He is probably best known for his theoretical prediction that black holes should emit radiation, which is today known as Hawking radiation.

    • Hephaistos:

      In Greek mythology, Hephaestus was the god of fire but was best known as the god of the forge. He was one of very few "ugly" Greek gods and the only one with a handicap. His Roman equivalent was Vulcan.

    • Rhade:

      The Rhade are a tribe of mountain peoples in Laos and Vietnam. Little was known about the Rhade until the French established contact in the 19th century.

    • Gaheris:

      Sir Gaheris was a figure in Arthurian legend, and a knight of the Round Table. He was the former squire of his older brother Sir Gawain and the nephew of King Arthur. He died at the hand of Sir Lancelot.

    • Gerentex:

      In Latin Gerentex literally means "Manager".

    • Andromeda Ascendant:

      In Greek mythology, Andromeda was a beautiful princess who was saved from a sea monster by the hero Perseus. She was both the great-grandmother and sister-in-law of Hercules, who was played by Kevin Sorbo on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.

    • Title:

      The title of this episode comes from a poem by W.H. Auden, entitled September 1, 1939. The phrase is found in the final stanza of the poem.